2002-08-21 / Front Page

Dawn Bolduc, an icon passes

Laura Dunham
Alfred Bolduc shows off photographs of his wife, Dawn who passed away last month, and one of her favorite haunts during her skiing and ice climbing career at Tuckerman's Ravine, in New Hampshire.Alfred Bolduc shows off photographs of his wife, Dawn who passed away last month, and one of her favorite haunts during her skiing and ice climbing career at Tuckerman's Ravine, in New Hampshire.The Sugarloaf area lost an icon recently with the passing of Dawn Bolduc.Bolduc, a graduate of Mt. Ida College for Women in Boston, Mass., was also an art major from Boston University. Her art director told her that 98 percent of artists will never become well known, but pay attention to detail and you will never starve to death as a commercial artist, he also said.According to Dawn's husband, Alfred, of some 48 years, she started her commercial work as an artist by doing the art work for the Boston telephone book's yellow pages, from there it was on to Carbone's of Boston where Dawn did restoration for the large importer of glassware and artwork.An avid photographer, Dawn joined the Paul Koby Studios in Harvard Square where she did exclusive portraits of many famous people, including a portfolio for Anthony Perkins who went on to Hollywood. Dawn also did a full length portrait of Evita Peron in her regal gown.But Dawn loved to ski and she was the first female secretary and treasurer for the New England Youth Hostels (it was nothing for Dawn to peddle her bike 100 miles a day, said Bolduc).She was a lady winter mountain climber, almost the only woman to join men on mountains of ice and glaciers especially when she went out west, said Bolduc. Dawn finally graduated into spring-time skiing in the early 1950s at Tuckerman's Ravine in New Hampshire where on any given weekend there would be 3,000 to 5,000 skiers, said Bolduc. They would climb up three miles, said Bolduc, who himself knew every inch of the terrain."Word got out," said Bolduc, "that a pretty young woman in her trademark braids needed her bindings fixed." He encountered the beauty but never met her again until a year later when they had their photo taken together. "That was the beginning of our 50-year love affair together," said Bolduc.The couple came to Kingfield in 1955 when the late Harvey Boynton hired Bolduc at a New York ski show to come to town and start Boynton in the ski shop business. Boynton got "two for one," said Bolduc, "when he got Dawn and I." Dawn designed his first ski shop and logo with the cut out of an Alpine Stag. While with Boynton, Dawn designed ski clothing not only for Boynton's shop but for the Carroll Reed Ski and Equipment catalog that went all over the country.The couple were both involved in Boynton's business until the 1960s when they went into business with Mauno and Kay Kankainen of Kingfield opening the Ski Specialist Ski Shop on a corner in Kingfield. Later the Bolduc's bought out the Kankainen's but operated the business for some 24 years.Al and Dawn were the first ski family to come to the area and then along came the Judson's, Irving and Edna, with Dawn designing their original portion of their motel in Carrabassett Valley and then their addition. Dawn also designed the Capricorn Lodge that was built by Emery Hall. "I don't think that Hall was very thrilled with all those blueprints Dawn came up with," said Bolduc.""In the late 1950s, I don't think there was a sign on any business in the area that wasn't designed by Dawn, who also designed hundred's of brochures about the Sugarloaf Area," said Bolduc.Ed Brennan arrived in Kingfield in the 1960s, teamed up with Dawn and decided the area needed a newspaper calling it the Bullsheet, said Bolduc. A kind of forerunner for the Sugarloaf Irregular, the Bullsheet was in production for several years. Ed Rogers and Dave Rolfe realized its potential and eventually started the Sugarloaf Irregular in 1968."Little did we know," said Bolduc, "When Dawn resized a Bogner ski jacket for our two-year-old daughter Celina, that the fashion photographer from the Portland Press Herald would be at Sugarloaf photographing the then expensive little $65 jacket." This was the first socialite photo out of Sugarloaf showing off the apres ski life.Dawn established the Sugarloaf Wool Works, noted for it's high quality, where she designed original ski hats for the ski teams that came to the resort, making thousands of wool hats over her career, said Bolduc. The couple then established the first Sugarloaf Farm Greenhouses on the Middle Road in New Portland and later would open the Apple Shed on Rt. 27."Dawn was famous for her homemade pies," said Bolduc. "We couldn't keep them on the shelf at $10 and then raised them to $15 and that didn't work. They still flew out the door. Dawn's jams and jellies were grabbed up by everyone. One woman drove from Bangor for seven pies at a time."Although Dawn had to go to Orchard Park Nursing Home the last year of her life, she didn't let that get her down, said Bolduc, "We set up her computer and copier, and she wrote a monthly column about the State of Maine Maple Industries, she fought such a hard battle but was comfortable with her problems, said Bolduc. Dawn during the past year also knitted mittens for her grandson's Boy Scout Troop in Eastport as a fund raising project.Dawn always recognized how hard the farm women worked and never seemed to spend anything on themselves, said Bolduc. He said that the family is working on a Dawn Bolduc Memorial Fund that will recognize the qualities of a farm lady and her contributions to her family and the Maple Industry. An annual presentation will be held at the Trade Show in Augusta with a Maine plaque and a $100 award for "a woman to buy something for herself," said Bolduc.Plans are also underway to purchase books of artwork in Dawn's name for the Friends of the Library in New Portland.

Return to top